By Gerald Tenywa
Professor John Ntambirweki, the Chairperson of the trustees of the Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE) has clarified that they are not opposed to Government.
He also said ACODE is not a political organisation but they advance public interest by working in the spheres of governance in order to contribute to the development of the country.
“As chairperson, I have found it necessary to clarify that we do not finance any political group or activists,” said Ntambirweki pointing out that they have been working as activists themselves when it comes to fighting for environmental justice. We are pro everybody so that this country can move forward.”
He added, “Nobody should consider us as an opposition lobby group. We affirm our intention of continue collaborating with Government and all other actors.”
Ntambirweki who is a former lecturer at the law school, Makerere is also the vice chancellor at the Uganda Pentecostal University and a consultant on international and environmental law.
He pointed out that Godber Tumushabe who has been the executive director of ACODE for since inception 13 years ago is to be replaced by Dr. Arthur Bainomugisha beginning January 1st, 2014. Bainomugisha has been working under Tumushabe. Godber is expected to work in a different portfolio at ACODE. He said Tumushabe is good at fundraising pointing out that the organisation started with about $100,000 donated by a donor in the US a decade ago.
“We are not being forced to remove Godber. This may surprise you because Godber wrote requesting to be replaced and even provided a roadmap,” he said, adding that Godber has delivered the organisation to many achievements including analysis of the performance of Government.
Asked to clarify on a rumour that Government was going to ban ACODE, Ntambirweki said, “Nobody has told us that we are going to be banned,” he said.
He pointed out that he had discussed the matter with General Aronda Nyakairima, the Minister of Internal Affairs and the chairperson of the NGO board. “When there is a rumour going around in the village you to the chief and say I am not a cattle thief.”
Ntambireki added, “We are a public interest organisation and we have capacity to mobilise resources. People get scared and they get scared that you are leaning on the other side for us we are not leaning on any side.”
He also explained that there has been a lot of concern because of the expressions of the officials at ACODE especially those of a political nature. “As a result many people have been concerned including members of Government including political elite in Government. I am here to clarify that ACODE remains a public interest organisation and a think tank.
ACODE has an imminent board with career professionals from Kenya, Tanzania and Senegal who may have what he called little interest in the politics of Uganda, according to Ntambirweki. “The board has never made any decision to support any political party, leader or opinion,” he told the press at the ACODE offices at Kamwokya, Kampala.
ACODE employ about 30 people and also networks with more than 100 associates, according to Ntambirweki